Tuesday June 2 2015
'Surreal atmosphere' in Croatia

There will be a “surreal atmosphere” in Italy’s crunch Euro 2016 qualifier against Croatia, said team manager Lele Oriali.

The Azzurri travel to Split for the big game on June 12, but it will be in an empty stadium, as Croatia were handed a ban over previous crowd trouble.

“We are all concentrated on a very complicated game against one of the best national teams on the European stage,” confessed Oriali in a Press conference.

“We saw in the first meeting in Milan that Croatia proved they were still superior to our squad. It’s only right to recognise that.

“There is going to be a surreal atmosphere. We hope it will be an advantage for us, but mustn’t forget there are opponents ready to close in behind us, so we need the utmost concentration.”

Croatia are top of Group H with 13 points, followed by Italy on 11 and Norway on nine.

Meanwhile, Coach Antonio Conte called up 34 players for a get-together at the Coverciano ground, though Andrea Poli and Domenico Criscito have already left due to injuries.

The others were subjected to a series of medical and fitness tests, including the use of a GPS tracker to digitise their performance in training.

“We don’t have the results yet from tests to evaluate their cardiac, lung and metabolic conditions, but the impression we get so far is relatively good,” said fitness coach Paolo Bertelli.

“We are monitoring all the athletes individually and over the course of the season will have another three sets of tests to confront the data.

“We must make the most of the short period of time at our disposal.”